McConnell Calls for Repeal of Obamacare After Republican Defections

Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET

Late Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for a “repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay” after two Republican defections derailed the latest iteration of his party’s plan to roll back the Affordable Care Act.

“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said in a statement. “So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health-care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.”

Shortly before the GOP leader’s announcement, Trumpcare was thrown into peril in the Senate when Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas simultaneously tweeted their opposition to the latest repeal-and-replace legislation, jeopardizing McConnell’s vote count.

McConnell could only afford two defections from the 52-member Senate Republican conference. Republicans planned to push it through using a process known as reconciliation—which has a lower, 50-vote threshold for passage—and with the help of Vice President Mike Pence in the event of a tie. Last week, however, GOP lawmakers Susan Collins and Rand Paul came out against the legislation. Monday’s news from Lee and Moran brought the total number of “no” votes up to four.

The setback cast fresh uncertainty on the Republican effort to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. Promises of repeal constituted the central pillar of the GOP platform when the…

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